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 16<title>Choosing a Phone - Android Accessibility</title>
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 22
 23<h1>Choosing a phone</h1>
 24
 25<div class="nav">
 26<div class="nav_back">&nbsp;</div>
 27<div class="nav_up"><a href="index.html">Up: Android Accessibility</a></div>
 28<div class="nav_next"><a href="enabling.html">Next: Enabling
 29Accessibility</a></div>
 30</div>
 31
 32<p>There are more than 50 phones worldwide (as of August 2010) that run
 33versions of the Android operating system. We will list a few of the more
 34popular models below, but here are the most important things to know before
 35choosing an accessible phone:</p>
 36
 37<p>1. <strong>Android version</strong>. Each phone comes with a particular
 38version of the Android operating system. While the operating system version can
 39be upgraded at a later date, it is up to the individual carriers to make such
 40updates available. Since it is hard to predict when these updates will occur,
 41you should plan on purchasing a phone that already has features that you will
 42be happy with. The following is a list of available Android versions.</p>
 43
 44<p>Android versions are sometimes referred to by their code names, which are
 45generally names of desserts starting with a successive letter of the
 46alphabet.</p>
 47<p>
 48<ul>
 49  <li>Android 1.5: Cupcake
 50  <li>Android 1.6: Donut
 51  <li>Android 2.0 or 2.1: Eclair
 52  <li>Android 2.2: Froyo (short for frozen yogurt)
 53  <li>Android 2.3: Gingerbread
 54  <li>Android 3.1: Honeycomb
 55  <li>Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich
 56</ul>
 57</p>
 58
 59<p>Android 1.6 was the first version with accessibility support. Support was
 60substantially improved in Android 2.0, and support for touchscreen-only devices
 61was added in Android 4.0 For more information about what accessibility features
 62were introduced in each version, see the <a href="versions.html">Android
 63Version Guide</a>.</p>
 64
 65<div class="note"><span class="n">Important note: </span><p>Carriers and device
 66manufacturers will sometimes create customized versions of the Android
 67operating system. For example, HTC often ships phones that include a custom
 68user interface called HTC Sense. Unfortunately, there is <strong>no
 69guarantee</strong> that devices with customized Android operating systems
 70include accessibility support. </p>
 71<p>If you are wondering whether a particular device includes support for
 72accessibility, you can check the list below. If the phone isn't listed there,
 73it is best to check with the carrier or device manufacturer. Also, Wikipedia
 74has a fairly comprehensive <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Android_devices">list of Android devices</a> including information on
 75the version number and whether or not there is a keyboard.</p>
 76<p>And be aware that even if a phone running a custom version of Android does
 77include accessibility, the operating system may still have been altered
 78enough that specific instructions in this guide may still not apply.</p></div>
 79
 80<p>2. <strong>Keyboard and tactile buttons.</strong> Android phones come in
 81a variety of different physical configurations. A physical QWERTY keyboard and
 82other tactile buttons can make it easier to perform certain actions without
 83using touch-screen controls. The following is a list of physical buttons that
 84you might find on an Android phone:
 85
 86<ul>
 87  <li>Start call
 88  <li>End call
 89  <li>Back
 90  <li>Menu
 91  <li>Home
 92  <li>Search
 93  <li>Camera
 94  <li>Volume up / down
 95  <li>Power
 96  <li>Directional pad or trackball and select button
 97  <li>QWERTY keyboard
 98</ul>
 99</p>
100
101<p>The number of physical, tactile controls varies significantly by phone
102model. We recommend that you try out a phone at your local store to determine
103if it works well for you. If that is impossible, you can find detailed specs
104online and find a phone that has the keys that matter the most to you.</p>
105
106<p>Some phones have touch keys, also known as capacitive keys. These keys are
107invisible and feel like they're part of the screen, but they're actually
108separate, discrete regions. The phone gives you haptic (vibrational) feedback
109when you press one of these keys successfully, but it can be hard to position
110your finger in the right place before you get the feedback. Some people put a
111small piece of tape over the keys to make them more tactile.</p>
112
113<h2>Known-accessible Android phones with "Explore by touch" (as of December
114    2011)</h2>
115
116<p>The following devices run Android 4.0 or above and are touchscreen-accessible
117   via the "Explore by touch" feature.</p>
118
119<ul>
120
121  <li><strong>Galaxy Nexus</strong> (Android 4.0)
122    <ul>
123      <li>The first Android device with "Explore by touch" for accessible use
124          without a hardware keyboard.</li>
125      <li>Has only three tactile buttons (power, volume up, and volume down).
126          The Back, Home, Recent Apps, and Menu buttons appear at the bottom of
127          the touchscreen and are touch explorable.</li>
128      <li>On-screen keyboard is touch explorable.</li>
129      <li>Very fast and powerful.</li>
130      <li>In the U.S., available on Verizon.</li>
131    </li>
132  </ul>
133
134</ul>
135
136<h2>Known-accessible Android phones with keyboards (as of August 2010)</h2>
137
138<p>The following devices are our top recommendations for accessible phones.
139All have full QWERTY keyboards and are known to work well. For each device
140we've included a description of the physical tactile buttons and any touch
141(capacitive) buttons and their locations on the device.</p>
142
143<ul>
144
145  <li><strong>T-Mobile G2</strong> (Android 2.2)
146    <ul>
147      <li><div class="note"><span class="n">Please note:</span> Though this
148      phone is running the standard Android 2.2 operating system and includes
149      accessibility support, it does not come with TalkBack pre-installed. You
150      will have to install TalkBack from the Android Market yourself. You will
151      be guided through this process if you go to the Accessibility menu in the
152      Settings. For more information on this process, see the section on
153      <a href="enabling.html">Enabling Accessibility</a>.</div></li>
154      <li>Four touch buttons in a row below the screen for home, menu, back,
155      and search.</li>
156      <li>Beneath the touch buttons, there is a square flat touchpad. You can
157      move your finger over the touchpad to navigate left, right, up, and
158      down. The touchpad is clickable and functions as an enter key.</li>
159      <li>The touchpad can access everything that a directional pad can.</li>
160      <li>Slide-out tactile keyboard with thin soft keys.</li>
161      <li>The keyboard includes a QWERTY keyboard and tactile menu and search
162      keys.</li>
163      <li>The keyboard also includes three programmable tactile keys, one
164      located on the left of the spacebar and two on the right. Pressing one
165      of the programmable keys will take you to a menu where you can choose
166      an application or action to be associated with the key.</li>
167      <li>The keyboard does not have a directional pad or arrow keys.</li>
168      <li>There is no dedicated number row at the top of the letter keys. To
169      type numbers, you have to use the ALT keys.</li>
170      <li>Does not have a start or end call button. However, you have the
171      option to use the power button as the end call button. You can activate
172      this option in the settings menu.</li>
173      <li>The volume rocker and camera buttons are physical buttons located
174      along the top left and bottom right sides of the phone, respectively.
175      The power button is located along the top edge.</li>
176      <li>The phone is very fast and powerful.</li>
177      <li>In the U.S., available on T-Mobile.</li>
178    </ul>
179  </li>
180
181  <li><strong>LG Ally</strong> (Android 2.1)
182   <ul>
183     <li>Tactile buttons on the front for start call,
184     home, menu, and end call. There are touch keys above those for back and
185     search.</li>
186     <li>Slide-out tactile keyboard with large raised keys that are very easy
187     to type on.</li>
188     <li>When you slide out the keyboard, you get a QWERTY keyboard, a
189     four-direction pad with a select button in the center, and tactile
190     buttons for back, home, menu, and search.</li>
191     <li>Includes a dedicated number row at the top of the letter
192     keys.</li>
193     <li>Includes every physical button mentioned in the section above. The
194     volume rocker and camera buttons are physical buttons located on the
195     sides of the phone. The power button is located along the top edge.</li>
196     <li>Moderately fast and powerful.</li>
197     <li>In the U.S., this is available on Verizon.</li>
198    </ul>
199   </li>
200
201  <li><strong>Samsung Epic 4G</strong> (Custom Android 2.1)
202    <ul>
203      <li><div class="note"><span class="n">Please note:</span> This
204      phone runs a customized version of Android 2.1. However, this phone does
205      include support for accessibility, and TalkBack is included. But keep in
206      mind that not all applications bundled with this phone by the carrier or
207      Samsung are accessible. For more information on accessible
208      applications, please see the <a href="apps.html"> the section on
209      apps</a>.</div></li>
210      <li>Four touch buttons in a row below the screen for menu, home, back,
211      and search.</li>
212      <li>Large slide-out tactile keyboard with raised keys.</li>
213      <li>The keyboard features a QWERTY keyboard, PC-style tactile arrow keys
214      and a separate enter button, and tactile buttons for menu, back, home,
215      and search.</li>
216      <li>Includes a dedicated number row at the top of the letter keys.
217      </li>
218      <li>Does not have a start or end call button.</li>
219      <li>The volume rocker and camera buttons are physical buttons located on
220      the left and right sides of the phone respectively. The power button
221      is located along the top edge.</li>
222      <li>The phone is very fast and powerful.</li>
223      <li>In the U.S., available on Sprint.</li>
224    </ul>
225  </li>
226
227  <li><strong>Motorola Droid (US) / Milestone (Europe)</strong> (Android
228  2.2)
229    <ul>
230      <li>Four large touch buttons in a row below the screen for back, menu,
231      home, and search.</li>
232      <li>Slide-out tactile keyboard, though the keys are very flat and not
233      very easy to find by touch.</li>
234      <li>The slide-out keyboard has a QWERTY keyboard, a four-direction pad
235      with a select button in the center, and tactile buttons for search and
236      menu. The four-direction pad is almost flush with the keyboard surface
237      and can be difficult to use.</li>
238      <li>There is no dedicated number row at the top of the letter
239      keys. To type numbers, you have to put the keyboard in symbol mode</li>
240      <li>Does not have a start or end call button. However, you have the
241      option to use the power button as the end call button. You can activate
242      this option in the settings menu.</li>
243      <li>The volume rocker and camera buttons are physical buttons located
244      on the right side of the phone. The power button is located along the
245      top edge.
246      <li>The phone is very fast and powerful.</li>
247      <li>In the U.S., this is available on Verizon.</li>
248    </ul>
249   </li>
250
251  <li><strong>Motorola Droid 2</strong> (Custom Android 2.2)
252    <ul>
253      <li><div class="note"><span class="n">Please note:</span> This
254      phone runs a customized version of Android 2.2. However, this phone does
255      include support for accessibility, and Motorola has even included a few
256      applications targeted for users with low or no vision. But keep in mind
257      that not all applications bundled with this phone by the carrier or
258      Motorola are accessible. For more information on accessible
259      applications, please see the <a href="apps.html"> the section on
260      apps</a>.</div></li>
261      <li>Four small touch buttons in a row below the screen for menu, home,
262      back, and search.</li>
263      <li>Slide-out tactile keyboard with raised keys.</li>
264      <li>The keyboard features PC-style tactile arrow keys and a
265      separate OK button.</li>
266      <li>The keyboard includes tactile buttons for search and
267      back. It also includes a special microphone tactile button that
268      triggers a custom Motorola voice search application.</li>
269      <li>There is no dedicated number row at the top of the
270      letter keys. To type numbers, you have to put the keyboard in
271      symbol mode.</li>
272      <li>This device does not have a start or end call button, but you have
273      the option to use the power button as the end call button. You can
274      activate this option in the settings menu.</li>
275      <li>The volume rocker and camera buttons are physical buttons located on
276      the right side of the phone. The power button is located along the
277      top edge.</li>
278      <li>The phone is very fast and powerful.</li>
279      <li>In the U.S., this is available on Verizon.</li>
280    </ul>
281  </li>
282
283  <li><strong>HTC Dream / HTC G1</strong> (Android 1.6)
284    <ul>
285      <li><div class="note"><span class="n">Please note: </span>This is a
286      first-generation phone, and it is slower and less powerful than most
287      newer phones. Though is not expected to ever be upgraded to Android 2.0,
288      basic accessibility features do work on Android 1.6.</div></li>
289      <li>Four round tactile buttons and a clickable trackball in a row below
290      the screen: start call, home, trackball, back, and end call. There is
291      also a rectangular tactile menu botton located above the trackball. When
292      held down, the end call button functions as the power on/off button.</li>
293      <li>The trackball can access everything that a directional pad can, but
294      it can be difficult to move it precisely without being able to see the
295      screen.</li>
296      <li>Slide-out tactile keyboard with thin but raised keys.</li>
297      <li>The keyboard includes a QWERTY keyboard and tactile menu and search
298      keys.</li>
299      <li>Includes a dedicated number row at the top of the letter
300      keys.</li>
301      <li>Includes every physical button mentioned in the section above. The
302      volume rocker and camera buttons are physical buttons located on the
303      sides of the phone. The power button is located on the front and doubles
304      as the end call button.</li>
305      <li>In the U.S., this is available on T-Mobile.</li>
306    </ul>
307  </li>
308</ul>
309
310<h2>Phones with keyboards - accessibility unknown</h2>
311
312<ul>
313  <li><strong>Motorola Droid Pro</strong> (Unreleased)
314    <ul>
315      <li>Accessibility unknown - please
316      <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/eyes-free/">let us know</a> if
317       you've tried it.</li>
318    </ul>
319  </li>
320
321  <li><strong>Motorola CHARM</strong> (Android 2.1)
322    <ul>
323      <li>In the U.S., available on T-Mobile.</li>
324      <li>Accessibility unknown - please
325      <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/eyes-free/">let us know</a> if
326       you've tried it.</li>
327    </ul>
328  </li>
329
330  <li><strong>T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide</strong> (Custom Android 2.1)
331    <ul>
332      <li>This is an example of a phone with a custom operating system.
333      However, some users have reported that they have been able to use it
334      successfully. If you have more specific information,
335      <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/eyes-free/">let us know</a>.</li>
336      <li>If the same phone, the HTC Espresso, is sold elsewhere in the
337      world with an accessible version of Android, please
338      <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/eyes-free/">let us know</a>.</li>
339    </ul>
340  </li>
341
342  <li><strong>Motorola Devour</strong> (Android 1.6)
343    <ul>
344      <li>In the U.S., available on Verizon.</li>
345      <li>Accessibility unknown - please
346      <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/eyes-free/">let us know</a> if
347       you've tried it.</li>
348    </ul>
349  </li>
350
351  <li><strong>Samsung Intercept</strong> (Android 2.1)
352    <ul>
353      <li>In the U.S., available on Sprint.</li>
354      <li>Accessibility unknown - please
355      <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/eyes-free/">let us know</a> if
356      you've tried it.</li>
357    </ul>
358  </li>
359</ul>
360
361<h2>Phones with keyboards that may not be accessible</h2>
362
363<p>The following phones have QWERTY keyboards but are known to have
364accessibility issues.</p>
365
366<ul>
367  <li><strong>Motorola CLIQ / DEXT</strong> (Android 1.5)
368    <ul><li>Android 1.5 has no accessibility features.</li></ul>
369
370  <li><strong>Motorola Backflip</strong> (Android 1.5)
371    <ul><li>Android 1.5 has no accessibility features.</li></ul>
372
373  <li><strong>LG InTouch Max</strong> (Android 1.5)
374     <ul><li>Android 1.5 has no accessibility features.</li></ul>
375
376</ul>
377
378<h2>Phones without keyboards</h2>
379
380<p>With the exception of devices running Android 4.0 and above, we do not
381recommend Android phones without keyboards for accessibility. For your
382reference, here is a partial list of some of the more popular Android phones
383that <b>do not</b> have a keyboard.</p>
384
385<ul>
386  <li><strong>Acer</strong> (all models)</li>
387  <li><strong>Dell</strong> (all models)</li>
388  <li><strong>Garminfone</strong></li>
389  <li><strong>GeeksPhone One</strong></li>
390  <li><strong>General Mobile DSTL1</strong></li>
391  <li><strong>HTC Aria</strong></li>
392  <li><strong>HTC Desire</strong></li>
393  <li><strong>HTC Droid Eris</strong></li>
394  <li><strong>HTC Droid Incredible</strong></li>
395  <li><strong>HTC EVO 4G</strong></li>
396  <li><strong>HTC Hero</strong></li>
397  <li><strong>HTC Magic / T-mobile MyTouch</strong></li>
398  <li><strong>HTC Tattoo</strong></li>
399  <li><strong>Huawei U8230</strong></li>
400  <li><strong>Lenovo LePhone</strong></li>
401  <li><strong>LG Optimus</strong></li>
402  <li><strong>Motorola CLIQ XT</strong></li>
403  <li><strong>Motorola Droid X</strong></li>
404  <li><strong>Motorola i1</strong></li>
405  <li><strong>Nexus One</strong></li>
406  <li><strong>Samsung Behold 2</strong></li>
407  <li><strong>Samsung Captivate</strong></li>
408  <li><strong>Samsung Galaxy</strong></li>
409  <li><strong>Samsung Galaxy S</strong></li>
410  <li><strong>Samsung Moment</strong></li>
411  <li><strong>Samsung Vibrant</strong></li>
412  <li><strong>Sony Ericsson Xperia X10</strong></li>
413  <li><strong>Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini</strong></li>
414  <li><strong>T-Mobile Pulse</strong></li>
415  <li><strong>T-Mobile Pulse Mini</strong></li>
416</ul>
417
418<p>If you have any information about other Android phones that are or are
419not accessible, please let us know!</p>
420
421<div class="nav">
422<div class="nav_back">&nbsp;</div>
423<div class="nav_up"><a href="index.html">Up: Android Accessibility</a></div>
424<div class="nav_next"><a href="enabling.html">Next: Enabling
425Accessibility</a></div>
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427
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